Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We're trying to hit some grant deadlines this week for the opera project and this is the email my friend sent me about the application materials:
OK. Have you ever gone back and read something you wrote and then just said to yourself "This is bullshit!" Well, here attached is a big ol' basket full of bullshit for you. Bullshit here, bullshit there, bullshit everywhere! Grab your bullshit hats and noise makers, 'cause GB's havin' himself a big ol' bullshit party.
This is the kind of email I like to get.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Uh, did you know that "Little House on the Prairie" is now a musical? And that it debuted at the Guthrie this weekend? And that Melissa Gilbert is playing the role of Ma Ingalls?

I'm THERE.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Take a hike.

I always have pants-related issues, but at the moment I am having issues related to very specific pants that I cannot find.

We're driving to Montana on Friday and will be spending the week rusticating in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness next to the Boulder River. We are actually going To Camp rather than going camping, by which I mean we are staying at a camp in cabins with a main lodge where they serve meals on cafeteria trays. They actually ring a big bell in the morning to tell you it's 8 AM and breakfast is on. It's not quite Wet Hot American Summer, but it will do.

There's more to say about going to camp, obviously, but the point is this: my main activity there, besides chilling next to the river with a book, will be hiking, and I cannot find any damn hiking pants. I know there were many years when people hiked quite happily without any tech gear whatsoever, but we now live in an age of tech gear surfeit and I feel that I should be able to find exactly the pants that I want. They need to fit my legs ass AND waist. They must be made of some tough yet breathable fiber that dries quickly. They cannot have tapered legs. I prefer capri length but will take what I can get at this point.

We were at my folks' house on Friday night, visiting and shopping for gear in their basement (there is so much gear in the basement), and my mom handed me some hiking pants to try on. I dropped trou in the living room, which is just how we roll, and was laughing pretty much as soon as I pulled on the hiking pants. My sister was like crying and shaking her head "no." I asked Jude how the pants were and he said, matter-of-factly, "bad. The color's bad." They were North Face hiking pants and they were elastic in the waist which means bulging in the bum and gut, a little too close in the thigh, and seriously tapered to the point of being pegged. There was a pleated, billowing cargo pocket directly under the widest point of the hip, which prompted Mol to wonder what self-respecting woman would carry anything in such a pocket. I pushed up the legs and wondered if I could wear them as knickers, and everyone just said No. The Brit was embarrassed by the pants and couldn't look at them.

With the free pants vetoed by all parties, I tried on about thirtyleven pairs of pants at REI over the weekend and not one of them fit properly. Then I bought $170 hiking boots that fit like a dream, and I went home and promptly found the identical boots online for $85. That's half price, in case you're not quick with the maths. While it's true that I fully endorse the co-op model and appreciate the customer service at REI, this is America, dammit, so I obviously ordered the cheaper boots and I'm considering the remaining $85 available for hiking pants. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Another thing about camp: apparently they have wi-fi now. It's kind of disappointing. Last time I went, I was totally unreachable for a week. Now I have to decide whether or not to bring a laptop. I think they're still out of cell phone reach, though. That's good.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sandwich party.

There's an internet sandwich party happening this weekend. It makes for very easy blog posting, and also good eating. All you have to do is make, order, and/or eat a sandwich, and then write about it or comment about it over at the post or add your picture to the flickr pool.

Voila:
Beet sandwich.
It's a beet sandwich. The bread is green olive batard, which is just what I happened to have. Add blue cheese made locally, arugula grown by your mom's cousin, and sliced roasted beets also grown by your mom's cousin but roasted by you. Top with more blue cheese and walnuts.

Sammich.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It would be so fine to see your face at my door.

Many of the women from college with whom I'm still friends are people I met in 1992, in the first few days of school, when you are trying on personas and crowds and things are sort of free-flowing. You'd go to dinner in a pack, or you'd show up alone and just ask to sit down at a table where someone who maybe looked familiar was already sitting, and then go through the litany of get-to-know-you questions: where are you from, what dorm are you in, what classes are you taking. This one girl in the dining hall looked recognizable enough to me that I quizzed her until I determined we'd gone to the same Girl Scout camp in 1984 or 1985. Back then, she'd worn a hot pink t-shirt that said, I think, "Victoria" in a bunch of different colors, and had loftily informed the rest of us that "Victoria is like Esprit in the Virgin Islands." When I told her this in 1992, she was mighty embarrassed. We did not become BFF.

On my very first day of college, I walked into my dorm and spotted a woman who bore a passing resemblance to one of my best friends from home--olive skin, long curly hair, birkenstocks--and I wouldn't say that I knew we'd be friends, but I did think "that's someone I should meet." You're looking for kindred spirits, obviously, so if you're sort of a hippie and you see someone with superficial sort-of-hippie signifiers, you perk up. Shannon, she of the birkenstocks, was literally about the first person I saw that day. She was decorating the wall of her dorm room with some harem-looking rug. Her assigned roommate never showed up, and she ended up being the only first-year student I knew who had her own room, a total fluke very much discouraged by the policies of residence life. It became the room where we'd all sit and drink wine coolers and watch 90210. We've been friends ever since, though I have largely stayed put at this latitude and she has, meanwhile, lived in Holland, Africa, the Virgin Islands (and damn, I failed to assign her the task of investigating that other girl's Esprit claim), and cities in the U.S., and traveled a bunch of other interesting places besides, in addition to being involved in all kinds of business ventures I don't understand. I don't know anyone else who flipped properties in Amsterdam in her twenties.

Over the weekend, I went to her wedding celebration and petted her hair and cooed at her new baby boy (I mean her actual baby boy, not her husband; I'm pretty sure I never cooed at him). I left on Saturday morning at about 8:20, only 20 minutes past my projected departure time which is miraculous in my history of road trips, got to my hotel at 1:30, and was having tea in the greenhouse of the American Club by 2:15, wearing a fuchsia and orange pantsuit from the 70s. "I'm so glad you're still wearing pantsuits," Shannon told me. I hadn't even thought about that--we used to go to the thrift store together in college and I was buying 70s pantsuits even then. I wore a voluminous white one to our graduation.

By 3:30, I was talking to another of my first friends from college, the Brazilian, whose wedding was a few years ago in Rio. I'd had to miss it for various reasons, not the least of which was that it would have cost me a frillion dollars to go. The Brazilian came home with me for Thanksgiving our first year in college, when she was, as she puts it, "fresh off the boat." I reminded her that we'd taken her bowling, and she'd congratulated my entire family on having nice big butts, not like other buttless American families. She's the reason I know how to say "ass" in Portuguese. She has a baby now too, a 6 month old with big chubby cheeks. He was dressed like a little man, with a long necktie that he cheerfully stuffed into his mouth. He's going to be one of those bilingual kids everyone envies, since the Brazilian speaks perfect English and her husband is American.

At dinner a few hours later, I petted the Brazilian's hair, too, and talked about career stuff and family stuff and baby stuff. Shannon's baby was asleep in a carrier under the table, where he remained until the first dance was danced, the cake scarfed, and the party dissipated. The Brazilian's baby managed to block out a lot of conversational noise in order to snooze in his stroller. Both babies were ditched with relatives after dinner and we went to the hotel bar, where Shannon's new Louisiana sisters-in-law bought what was essentially a pitcher of Sex on the Beach, as though I weren't already plunged into college reminiscence. If you want to remember the taste of being a freshman in college, order something that has peach schnapps in it and then listen to grown folks peer-pressuring each other into doing shots. Shannon ordered lots of extra maraschino cherries and I went back to my hotel at 1:30 with a red tongue and a great feeling of happiness.

Sheboygan is right on Lake Michigan, though my hotel was nowhere near the lake. I wasn't able to get a room at the compound in Kohler--at least, not in the more reasonably priced "select service hotel," which was all booked up; a room at the American Club would have cost me $400, which, no thank you. Actually when the guy on the phone quoted me the room price in a kind and soothing voice, I said "I would love that if someone else were paying." Instead, I stayed at the AmericInn on the highway, where I got the last available room in Sheboygan for $185. What gives, Sheboygs? Why so busy? There was apparently an art fair, but I saw no evidence of it while I was there; still, the AmericInn parking lot was packed by the time I got back to the hotel in a different ludicrous 70s outfit. Are you, like me, still imagining that roadside homotels cost what they did in the late 90s, when you used to get them on Priceline? Sigh. At least the hotel was more or less Goodwill-adjacent, which is obviously right up my alley.

The next morning, I ate lobby waffles with my fingers and watched Brokeback Mountain until 10. Then I packed up all of my clothes--I'd been indecisive about what I might wear to the two different events--and drove to Goodwill. I ended up at the great lake and had some coffee and a strawberry-rhubarb scone and walked out to the end of the pier, which was lined with people fishing. The lake side was vibrant blue-green, the harbor side churned muddy brown, and all of it was veiled in mist, even though the sky was clear and the sun beat down. I wandered around on the beach and wished I could just stay all day and read a book with my feet in the water. We haven't been able to get up to Lake Superior yet this year and I need to sit on the edge of the water and enjoy some peace and oblivion. Instead, I drove home meanderingly, on two-lane highways, hitting a second Goodwill, passing through the birthplace of the Republican party, listening to This American Life and Russell Brand podcasts and laughing out loud. And snacking endlessly, like I was bent on it. I walked around the Pick and Save for ages, trying to decide what to eat. It's disorienting, doing that much driving in one 36 hour stretch.

I'm always grateful for the friends I don't need to see very often, you know what I mean? For people I can miss for years before we reconnect, and once we make contact it's like it was never broken in the first place; we can talk on the phone for hours, or hang out for days, and no one is pissy about the long stretches when we were out of touch. It's well worth the drive.

Enamelware luv.

Here are some flickr search results that make me go squeeeee. I found a Cathrineholm pan at Goodwill last week, put it in my etsy shop, and promptly sold it.

I know they're just things, but they are such satisfying things.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Last night I was doing sorority-girl shots with women I've known since the first day of college, at a swank hotel in a Stepford-style planned corporate community, and then this morning I was drinking coffee on a pier in Lake Michigan, and this afternoon I was rooting around in a Goodwill in Fond du Lac, and now I'm home and the cat is pawing at my face. More on all of this later.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here come the gender police.

This post over at Feministe on how gender policing hurts kids--and the subsequent comments--is/are well worth reading, especially if you are interested in unpacking your own biases about acceptable boy behavior vs girl behavior. From the post:
Girls run a constant risk of being taught to associating [sic] femininity with frivolousness, and we might be teaching boys a form of subtle misogyny as well. As Sociological Images notes, “unlike men, who are supposed to reject all things feminine, women are encouraged to balance masculine and feminine characteristics.” NPR’s article “Two Families Grapple with Sons’ Gender Preferences” seems to give credibility to this assertion. While the boys who name their animals girl’s names, identify with female characters in movies, and want to wear skirts might get taken to a psychiatrist; girls are expected to identify with male characters in movies (there might not be any female ones), can wear only slacks (I refused skirts and dresses for years), and are free to name their stuffed bears whatever they’d like (mine was Tom). The implication that girls can aspire to be male, but that boys shouldn’t condescend to act like girls is disturbing.
There's really no "might" about it: we're teaching misogyny to boys AND girls, in myriad ways, practically as soon as they are born.

I've mulled over this stuff in the past with regard to shopping for kids' clothes and how horrifyingly gendered the clothes are *even for tiny brand new babies* (see, for example, the vomitrocious Heelarious high-heeled crib slippers for newborn girls), and I've been wanting to post about it again because of a recent conversation about the things my nephew Henry is interested in. Practically before he was verbal he became interested in music, and his parents have always encouraged all of his interests, basically following him wherever his intellect ranges, from Mary Poppins to Houdini to Jerry Lee Lewis to dance class to swimming lessons. He spent most of a year wearing a tuxedo as much as possible. And already I hear people saying things like "well, when I was a kid the only boys I knew who liked musicals turned out to be gay."

SIGH.

First of all, who cares? But second of all and much more importantly, it is so damaging to kids of both (all) genders to be shown a reductive vision of what's okay for them to be interested in. When we dismiss certain interests as girly or gay, we reinforce the idea that a narrow version of masculinity is the only thing that boys can aspire to--and maybe worse, that "girly" or "gay" interests (whatever those are) are not important or worth nurturing. Not only that, but we project our own crap onto a kid who simply likes what he or she likes. A kid is a human being first. If he or she wants to draw pictures or shoot baskets all day long, for corn's sake get that kid some crayons and a b-ball and let him or her explore.

Look, I'm not saying that boys and girls are exactly the same--hormones are the real deal, and they have as-yet-unplumbed impacts upon thought processes and behaviors. But I watch myself carefully with all kids to make sure that I'm interacting with them as individuals, as people with distinct personalities rather than as "boys" or "girls." This means that in a few years, if Willa turns out to want to wear a princess outfit every day, I will get over myself and help a sister out with a sweet getup, and make sure she and her brothers are reading The Paper Bag Princess.

And if someday I have a son who wants to do the same thing, I hope I can likewise get over myself and buy him the princess outfit his heart desires. I will never, ever, ever say "boys don't do that" or "girls can't do that," and I will do my damnedest to deflect the influence of (even well-meaning) haters who say that kind of stuff. Believe that.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Outlander.

My mom is a book pusher, which is one of her many endearing qualities. I was thinking about this recently and realized that I don't remember her reading much when I was growing up, which could have been because I wasn't paying attention but was more likely because she was at home with four kids and a home business. By the time I was in college and she had gone back to school herself, though, she was en fuego for the books. Now, as a denizen of Goodwill, she is constantly picking up books on the cheap, especially books that she has read and liked and recommends, and then she just foists them on people who express even the slightest interest in Kaye Gibbons or, I don't know, Carol Shields. When Hob's girlfriend came over to meet the family for the first time, she left with my mom's copy of I Capture the Castle. It's like Mom has her own low-level publicity campaign for the books she likes.

Anyway, last month, which by the way is also when I started writing this post, she handed me Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, a huge brick of a paperback, the first in a series (that is thankfully not yet over). And I was up that Monday night until 1 AM without even realizing it, reading. Then I got up the next day and started reading, and didn't really stop until I finished it. It was a perfect day for it, too, blustery and gray and threatening rain and vaguely Scottish, and not particularly springy. Don't get me wrong, I got a lot of other stuff done that day too. But I'd had ambitions of maybe doing a little shop update that day--I have loads of dresses to add--and didn't even come close to doing that. (This has been true of a few other recent Tuesdays, I have to admit, given that there are other books in the series. When I'm reading something absorbing it's pretty hard for me to do anything else.)

The blurb on the back of the book isn't all that intriguing except for the part about going back in time--otherwise it's all "torn between passion and...other passion" stuff. However, the INSIDE of the book is super-absorbing. It turns out to be mostly intense romance with a lot of violence (it's 18th century Scotland, hello), and I tore through it and got weepy several times, thanks to the love speeches of the über manly yet unbelievably emotionally communicative hero, and found myself all drawn into the action and relationships without a lot of critical thinking, even when crazy shit was happening. So obviously I enjoyed it.

My enjoyment of this book wasn't uncomplicated, though. I got sort of indignant about a number of things that I won't detail here, mostly because reading the 5 subsequent books in the series--it's true, and they're all like 1400 frigging pages--tempered my initial reaction to the first book. The author actually does a good job with some gender role reversals throughout the series, and she certainly doesn't play into the conventions of "romance," even though the first book was originally marketed as such. I will say that, throughout the entire series, there is a sort of fetishization of dominance and a conflation of sex with violence, plus many rehashings of the tired supposition that once men get humping it is impossible for them to stop, which is one of those bogus biological justifications for rape. Guess what, men have brains, and not in the heads of their peens.

Anyway. These books have totally dominated my reading life for the past month, and it has been so fun--I love consuming and being consumed by books. These have been a little bit intellectual/historical and a little bit mystery and a little bit fantasy/romance and very much page-turners. I thought that the one I just finished was the last of them, but it turns out Gabaldon's working on another one. The good news about that is that I'll probably want to reread the whole series when she publishes the new one.

The bad news about all of this is that I have nothing to read while I'm on vacation. I need a big absorbing mammoth of a book, preferably fiction. Suggestions are welcome. Or I suppose I could just ask Mom.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More lazy photoblogging.

But so, so worth it:
Oh man. Dad in 1973.
That's my daddy.

(Pardon funky cropping. I love the shape and paper texture of those photos from the 70s, but they're hard to capture with a scanner and a SLOW ASS COMPUTER. Also, don't you think this photo is begging to be captioned? Or at least album-titled? Please have at it in the comments.)

(Also also, my dad has a flickr page. Hee.)

Oh for Pete's sake.

Oh good grief.

This totally makes up for missing a few days of posting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I wish I was special.

I can't really apologize for not blogging the past few days, because truly, I'm not sorry that I spent the days outdoors instead of computer-bound. Friday was legitimately miserable, about 900 degrees and 500 percent humidity, with gusting winds from the south right when I needed to bike in that direction. My entire commute home on Friday was consumed with thoughts of how much it sucked, how I don't ever want to do anything competitive on bicycle because what if it's a day like that, and how I just needed to keep going because what else was I going to do, stop? It didn't help that I was wearing a maxi dress tied in a knot between my knees and then hiked up as far as possible for the most airflow. When I got home I more or less collapsed and probably should have hydrated intravenously.

HOWEVER. There was a thunderstorm that night, and then Saturday and today were completely brilliant and perfect. Windy and sunny and not too hot--exactly the kind of day you want to lie in the grass and have a nap under a tree. I didn't do that, though. Instead I tried to undo my very stupid tanlines by applying sunscreen only to the previously burned bits and then I did yardwork. We'll see how it all turns out. The only reason I am even a little bit concerned about the appearance of my back is that I am going to not one but TWO belated receptions for long-ago weddings this week: one for the Brit's sister, whose immigration took longer than anyone could have imagined, and one for my friend who's been living in Amsterdam but is with family in Wisco until August. I don't know what I'm wearing for these events, but it's likely I will end up in some sort of summer dress that exposes my SPF-related folly. I would like to look like less of a tool if at all possible; hence the backskin-wrangling.

The second of the wedding receptions is requiring a whirlwind trip clear to the other side of Wisconsin next weekend. I think I booked the last available room in Sheboygan for Saturday night. I am not joking even a little bit when I say that every hotel up in that piece was full up. I'll be spending Saturday a) driving b) getting my fill of my friend's new baby and c) having swank dinner at the reception. Sunday I hope to hit a few thrift stores and have a leisurely drive back to the TCs. It'll be nice time avec moi-meme and a good test-drive for my car, which is slated to trek to Montana in just a few weeks. The mechanics say there's nothing wrong with it, so I'm going to go ahead and believe them.

I'm already at that point in the summer when I know it's getting away from me and it's going to end.

Tonight Henry and Jude both wished on a star: Jude wished for superpowers, and Henry earnestly wished that "life could change and kids could have permanent tattoos."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

UPDATED.

Just one reason why Obama's recent comments on late-term abortions have raised so much concern in the pro-choice world. (ETA: I fixed the link; sorry for my ineptitude; the link was THE ENTIRE PURPOSE of my post.)

Also, I've been meaning to point this out, but I come across many notable or linkworthy posts in my net travels, and rather than say "hey read this" I've just been sharing them on my Google reader share site. Some of the blogs I read are password-protected and not shareable, and some of you jerks are still using diaryland and don't have RSS feeds. Aside from that, if you're interested in seeing the posts that stand out the most day-to-day, click on my little link at right. I've shared the story I linked above there as well.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chicks for free.

Wow, so, one week into July, I've already failed at daily posting. Not that surprising, what with the houseguests and not loafing around on the internets quite as much as usual. I've been too busy trying to make sure that we eat the entire contents of our CSA box before the next pickup date (today). Let me tell you, even a half share of lettuce is quite demanding. Our workplace farmers' market also starts today, and I won't be able to help going outside to check it out and I will probably buy things, especially berry things, if there are any. Allegedly they are giving out free tote bags too, and who am I to turn down a free tote?

I got my gubmint check on Monday, finally. Even though I think the premise behind these checks is bogus, there is something very pleasing about getting money for nothin. Similarly (yet completely differently), my credit card company sent me a bunch of "convenience checks" with the first one conveniently made out to me in the amount of $5000. It is amazing to think that someone might actually use such a thing, though I suppose if you just needed a super cheap loan for a year it would be worthwhile. I've been sitting here wondering if there are any ways to flip that money and make it work for me during the time there's 0% interest on it, but with the 3% cash advance charge I don't really think there is. Funneling some of it into my student loan would save me like $18, and putting the money in a CD right now would only get me about $37 when all was said and done. Feh. Let me know if you have any other ideas.

Speaking of money things, I have put witchyobrokeass on hiatus because I clearly wasn't posting to it and could clearly just as easily post yobrokeass-related topics on this here blog. Take, for example, the following topic: firstgiving.com. I just read about this thing today and cannot vouch for it at all, but it seems like a pretty slick idea: allow fundraisers to set up their own pages to raise money for non-profits, and funnel the money raised directly to the non-profit in question. You can set up a page for a special event, or have a page for ongoing fundraising, or whatever. Neither the organization itself nor the fundraisers have to do any of the administration associated with fundraising--Firstgiving takes a cut, but it seems pretty reasonable. You'll be hearing more about this from me in the future, most likely, because I'm involved god help me in grantwriting for an opera (yes that's me in the picture) that's being commissioned and produced based entirely on the percolating ideas and do-itness of a producer friend of mine (and the various teams he assembles). We only have to come up with like $85K.

Another thing I could post on witchyobrokeass if it were still operational is something that harnesses the power of social networking to do good in the world, sort of like Zopa, which I've posted about before. I got an email forward over the weekend about a site I'd been meaning to check out for like a year, buythechange.com, and I finally joined up. Turns out the people behind it are all people I know, which is very appropriate given that the point of the site is to build community and benefit organizations that share your values. For $20, you can buy a subscription for a year, post as many ads for goods and/or services as you'd like, and benefit the nonprofit of your choice with 70% of your fee. As soon as I have an ad to post, I'll most definitely subscribe. But it's free to join up, and I've done that already. This type of service will work best when lots of people join up, so all you Twin Citians should probably holla at Buy the Change, or at least read about it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

We like to sing: a photo essay.

Apparently there is now only one acceptable birthday activity and that is singing karaoke.

If there is a person who needs to be in a band it is my sister Em:
She's rocking, but what is she rocking?
She almost threw down with the dudes who managed to squeak in with Queen's "Somebody to Love" just before her name came up with the same song. The dudes weren't bad, though. While they were singing, the Brit and I simultaneously had the righteous feeling that we should be listening to Queen on our entire ride to Montana next month.

BIL did a prayerful rendition of "Creep." He really likes songs that have a bit of falsetto action.
I don't belong here.
During most of this performance, the Brit cavorted around the front of the stage, pretending to weep soulfully.

The Brit broke on through to the other side:
No literally, he broke on through.
This awakened the interest of every wanky 19 year old boy for miles, especially the ones who were in the bar with fake IDs.

The birthday girl got a little bit serious with "Crazy for You." She did this same thing on her 30th birthday, which is when we discovered this place, if you can really "discover" a place to which hundreds of 21 year olds swarm at 11:30 PM, in order to "rap" their favorite Snoop Dogg joints. I can't think of anything less entertaining than a bunch of suburban adolescents badly rapping, giggling, and grinding on a karaoke stage, but there we were.
Busting out the stage props.

Bill got the posey hand when he sang:
It was either Jacko or Stevie Wonder or possibly disco.
The Brit later suggested that he sounded a little bit like Tay Zonday singing "Rock With You," which maybe isn't accurate but is pretty damn funny. He in fact nailed all of the high stuff, and when I told him so he said "Really? it hurt like hell" through hysterical laughter. (The morning after Lord and Lady Cupcake's wedding a few years back, those of us who went and sang at the karaoke reception enjoyed saying things like "dude, my nodes are really killing me today. I think I jacked up my node last night." This is maybe only funny to professional singers.)

Anyway, too late Bill and I both realized that we should be singing disco. I don't know why I've never sung Thelma Houston's version of "Don't Leave Me This Way" (though I have done "I Will Survive," because it's unavoidable, especially if you like to help other people who want to sing but don't want to stand up there alone). Next time, suckers. This time it was standbys Queen and Wham which apparently made me do this:
If my best isn't good enough, then how can it be good enough for two?

Trala, trala.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Something truly lame.

On my part, I mean, and it's this: the word "whoa" is spelled W-H-O-A. Don't look at it for very long or it will start to look ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as caring about how it's spelled.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A spoonful of sugar.

I really picked a dumb month to try daily blogging again. For the past two days I have been doing nothing but landscaping, cleaning, running around all crazy, listening to Marigoldie's soul mix on the insane sound system in the garage, and preparing for the arrival of the wee English folk, who will be with us for the next two weeks. All I want to do right now is fall into bed, so that's what I'm going to do.

First, though, I will tell you three kid stories.

1. Willa has a top tooth and can roll herself into a sitting position like a little gorilla, and I'm a little jealous of the fact that her brothers make her laugh a lot harder than I can. However, they make me laugh pretty hard too. To wit:

2. Jude, balanced on his dad's hip, said "when your cell phone vibrates, I can feel the rhythm in my penis."

3. Henry, currently obsessed with Mary Poppins, undertook to measure Jude the same way Mary Poppins measures Jane and Michael: you know, with a magic tape measure that describes your faults instead of giving your height. (When Mary measures herself, she gets "practically perfect in every way.") So Henry measures Jude, thinks for a minute and pronounces "Um...draws bad and talks funny."

I'm telling you. You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Man, I hate to get all like I'm waving my cane and shouting "damn kids," but when did shorts get so damn short again? And do you really look at a pair of these cheek-skimmers on the rack and think "yes empirically that is a really cute piece of clothing, and not only that but it will be very very comfortable to wear and will look very cute on"? I can't imagine that, but granted, I don't wear shorts, ever, and really haven't since...I can't actually remember the last time I wore shorts. The advent of the pedal-pusher-capri-whatever length has been a real boon to me.

So that's one thing I've been thinking about on this special holiday.

At the moment my brain is pretty much consumed with my sunburn, though--both its ache and my stupidity in smearing on my sunblock without due diligence, such that I have like four blotchy patches of sunburn on my back, including my waistline. The worst part is that I actually have a buttfloss strap burn line because I was working bent over in the backyard and my pants tended to migrate in the grand tradition of plumbers everywhere.

The upshot is that the yard looks very good, but my back does not.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Doin' it for themselves.

As you already know if you can do simple math, 1976 marked the United States Bicentennial, which I'm certain meant extra-elaborate festivities on the 4th of July, though I don't remember them. On the 3rd of July that same year, though I don't remember this either, I got my first sibling and very oldest friend, Molly.

What are we doing?

Waking up on her second day in the outside world to massive celebration undoubtedly left its mark on my sister, who is the only person I can think of who would have thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention at something like a menarche party. (Sidebar: this is on my mind only because my friend's little cousin was subjected to that very thing last night, and while my hippie self thinks it's a great idea, the reality is that the kid was apparently mortified about the whole thing. Anyway.) For many years of her life, I'm certain Mol thought that all the fireworks and parades were for her.

Sistas.

It's a weird and cool experience to become adult enough to realize that you look up to your younger siblings, which I most definitely do. There has always been plenty to admire about Molly--her affectionate nature, her social ease, her talent, her beauty--but as we've grown older and the 22 month age difference between us has dwindled to total insignificance, I often find myself feeling like she's the older sister. I suppose that's because she took on a lot of grown-uppy stuff at a fairly young age and is now the awesome mother of an incredibly impressive brood of shorties. But it's also because she's so good at welcoming and encouraging people and taking charge. These traits make her both a delightful host and an excellent teacher. In both roles, she's the most genuinely warm and and enthusiastic person you can imagine.

Christmas 1990

She is also formidable. I don't recommend delivering subpar service to her. She will smile sweetly and inform you that she is taking her business elsewhere and explain exactly why. If she sees you acting sketchy with your kids or around any kids at all, she'll most likely call the cops. If I were giving out awards to my friends I might give her Most Likely to Make a Citizen's Arrest. She's the one who originated the job title "Judge of All Things," which I have occasionally used on internet profiles of myself.

Mol in her Christmas neighborhoodie.

I can go on and on about how rad Molly is and what a powerful influence she has on the people who get pulled into her orbit, but I don't really have words for how I feel about her. I'm the oldest kid; I know there was a time when I was the only one around, the center of my own universe and everyone else's, but I don't remember that time. Happy birthday, Molly. I forgive you for your NKOTB obsession and for taking all of my clothes without asking all through high school.

We are not actually naked.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Feast of July.

I have big plans for July, internets. Not in the lifestyle choices sense, or even in the self-improvement sense, but strictly in the blogging sense. And even then "big plans" might be sort of misleading, since really all I'm trying to do is blog daily again. You may have noticed that my first post in July was not at all thrilling and informative, except that it WAS because I did exactly what the post said and I meant it when I asked where the rest of youse are at.

Yesterday actually marked the very first time I have met one of my blogfriends in person, which I find hard to believe given that I cherish very real affection for so many of the peeps whose words I've been reading for the last 3 or 4 years. I am in more constant contact with you all than with many, if not most, of my "real-world" friends. Like, I can right this moment think of a handful of people I haven't talked to for 6 months or more and I literally have no idea what they're doing. I know that one of them is getting married and another one just bought a house (which I found out about from the "help us move!!" evite) and one apparently broke up with her Beyoncé (that's fiancé to you who are not in the know). Oh also one just had a baby in Amsterdam and I bet some of the rest of them are pregnant. That's what happens in real life but IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN ON THE INNERTUBES. This is one of the things I like about you people: you tend to dish the goods in real time, so I pretty much always know what's up with you.

Anyway, in case you didn't already know this, meeting your blogfriends in real life is good times. Especially if it's summer and you have the day off and there's a patio involved and no one is opposed to like a 4 hour lunch. It might also be good if there is some rosé involved, but you will have to ask Violet about that.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I am going to meet Violet (and the Keelhauler) for lunch!! Hooray internet meetups!

Now where are the rest of you?